back when letter-bead bracelets were everywhere

So are they back in fashion?

I hopped by Fifi Lapin's fashion blog this morning and she says
front row fashionista Sienna Miller may have sparked a whole new trend for alphabet bead name bracelets
(click to see Sienna's photo)

They're not really "a whole new trend" though; at least not where I come from.

Plastic letter-beads used to be just for tots, but back in the early '90s, i.d. bracelets or chokers were the hip, cool accessory. They were mostly worn by teenagers, but kids and adults sported them too.

They were ubiquitous, but weren't exactly cheap. They were sold at mall-stalls and you paid for them per letter, the price depended on which kind of beads you chose with whatever kind of wire.

The most popular (and most expensive) were the metal cube beads:

These beads were a bit of a status symbol too. Those who could afford to splurge bought themselves a choker with their names spelled out in metal, thirty or so bucks per letter.

A thriftier person would get bracelet or a ring, and settle for an initial (which I thought was kind of ugly, and a pathetic way to be en vogue),

... or opt for plastic beads.

So what lettered jewelry did I wear when I was a teen? A ring with my initial, of course, with a silver plastic cube that pretended to be a metal one. =p It was the only thing I could afford since my parents did not believe in financing my ridiculous obsession to fit in - and I only had it when it was no longer so hip and trendy, and even had to make it myself, hee hee.

Those i.d. necklaces and bracelets were the perfect token for your best friend. In fact they were brilliant any-age, any-sex gifts.

It was a stylish way to be proud of your name, and quick trick to spy the name of some cute stranger you bumped into while mallratting.

It also became a new way to be cheesy.

If you managed to hold on to your letter-bead bracelet all these years, now might be a good time to show them off "vintage" jewelry, haha.

A number of Etsy sellers and online stores are already selling made-to-order letter-bead accessories. If these i.d. necklaces and bracelets do become a widespread trend as Fifi Lapin forecasts, I think I'll be an opportunist and carry them on my shop too.
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